Bike maintenance and servicing - what can you do yourself?

(25 Posts)
WhoTheFuckIsSimon Tue 19-Apr-16 15:41:57

I'm embarrassed by my lack of technical knowhow. I can just about change a puncture, I know what to do but it takes me ages and I physically struggle but have practised and am better. I can fix a broken chain with my chain tool and spare links. And that's about it.

My maintenance consists of washing the worst of the mud off every now and then and spraying a bit of bike lube on the chain while whirring the pedals round.

I'm planning a 5 day solo bike tour this summer and think I either need to sort my bike out myself or probably more sensibly take it to the local bike shop for a service.

What level of service is needed do you think?

I can pay £125 for full strip down, all components removed, full cleaning, inspection and re greasing. Facing of bb head tube and brake mounts as required.

Or £65 for drive train to be stripped and degreased, components lubricated and wheels tensioned plus spoke replacement if needed (one spoke max)

Or £35 to adjust brakes and gears, lubricate chain, basic wheel true and full safety check.

Or a full gear service only for £25

Or a headset service for £20. I'm not even sure what the headset is and why it would need servicing! I don't know what the drive train is actually.

I'm thinking the £35 service sounds too basic. And maybe the £125 overkill?

I wish I could find a local bike maintenance class.

pinkcan Tue 19-Apr-16 15:45:54

I can pump the tyres up and adjust the saddle etc and nothing more grin

The bike shop fixes the rest.

Not much help, but maybe you could look where the bike shops are on your holiday route?

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Tue 19-Apr-16 15:49:21

I've already checked out the bike shops and there's one near the beginning and one near the end and about 180 miles inbetween! grin

So I'm thinking I need to make sure the bike is in excellent condition before I go and practice puncture repairs a bit more!

Zampa Tue 19-Apr-16 15:51:18

Have you checked if your council runs bike maintenance courses? Mine does various different ones from novice to expert, all for free.

CMOTDibbler Tue 19-Apr-16 16:12:41

How old is your bike? Mostly I'd think the £35 would be enough unless you've done a lot of miles. I confess I just let my local bike shop tell me what I need as I completely trust them.

I can only do very basic bike maintenance - change tyres/tubes, replace rim brake blocks, fix chain, tighten spokes.
Mostly it just goes to see the nice men though - like it is right now. They looked very sadly at my tatty bar tape so thats getting done as well. I luffs them there, they have olympians, pro teams, and people with huge amounts to spend on bikes in there, yet they are unfailingly lovely to everyone

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Tue 19-Apr-16 16:42:43

Bike is a couple,of years old and has probably done about 1500 miles.

Council don't run any courses.

mudandmayhem01 Tue 19-Apr-16 16:56:33

I can fix a puncture slowly, I always carry the right kit ( tube, bike tool, puncture patch, pump, a bit of gaffer tape wrapped around the pump and a couple zip ties) my dh assures me I can fix anything with this kit. I have never had to test this out, as soon as I start fixing my bike a fellow cyclist comes to my aid ( male or female, no sexism here) I look like I am having an attempt as i have kit. Plan b ( this works great-) facebook that you are having a bit of bike bother and some geek immediately posts back with advice, last strategy, call dh, this is bad as he will give me a look which expresses his dismay that I can't do such a simple repair despite numerous attempts to improve my skills. Plan c go cycling with a group of women who are slightly less inept than me, fixing is much easier as a group effort and I am much less likely to cry.

lavendersun Tue 19-Apr-16 17:00:54

I do nothing, zero, can sort out a puncture on the road. DH does everything builds our bikes from scratch so I let him!

Oddly I have been looking for maintenance course, thought I ought to know the basics, not much currently locally but there has been a lot during the winter.

DH has tried to teach me on occasion but when he talks about things like mechanical advantage my eyes glaze over and I lose the will.

lavendersun Tue 19-Apr-16 17:05:20

Simon not sure what they are like but Evans do maintenance classes. Before I moved I used the Norwich store a few times to buy cables and odd things we had forgotten for my bike build and the people working there were fairly mature/very nice.

RAFdad Tue 19-Apr-16 17:47:08

I took a bike maintenance course in Cambridge, and I have to say it was very informative. Now I service all my bikes and recently done a wheel building course to replace spokes and build complete wheels. Courses are all over and you gain so much. smile

MeanwhileHighAboveTheField Thu 21-Apr-16 04:29:08

I can build a bike from scratch - eg install headsets, bottom brackets etc. Never built a wheel though.

prettybird Thu 21-Apr-16 22:22:37

I can't do anything blush

No, I tell a lie: I can oil my chain and I can check my tyres and then tell dh they need blowing up blush

lavendersun Fri 22-Apr-16 06:21:51

Interesting this isn't it how not many of us do much!

Meanwhile where did you learn to do all that and do you use the Park Tools book?

Yes I always carry a tool rool too but apart from dealing with a puncture (I do repair the broken tube at the roadside so I have got it as a spare incase I get another one) and adjusting my saddle I wouldn't really know what to do with the rest of the tools.

I can heartily recommend Marathon Plus tyres for puncture resistance, haven't had a puncture for years! DH is insisting I switch to Supremes on my new bike, but I am not interested in speed particularly so I don't see the point.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 22-Apr-16 06:24:58

I've got marathon plus on my cyclocross bike and never had a puncture. They're a nightmare to change though if you do.

Dh bought me a maintenance book but I think I need a class not a book. I'm 45 miles from an Evans store.

MeanwhileHighAboveTheField Fri 22-Apr-16 07:20:20

I did a very basic class then decided the way to learn was to build a small kids bike from scratch. I used the Zenn book of bike maintenance and the internet.

Fixing a puncture is a lot more than a lot of people can do!

MeanwhileHighAboveTheField Fri 22-Apr-16 07:20:47

Zinn not zenn

lavendersun Fri 22-Apr-16 07:25:44

I am massively impressed Meanwhile - we have got an old Galaxy of DH's that was his Cambridge hack in bits, maybe you will inspire me to have a go.

He rebuilt our tandem last week after a respray and invited me to join him in the barn ..... I declined!

CMOTDibbler Fri 22-Apr-16 16:06:12

Having picked up my bike from LBS, I realise why I leave things to them. They had checked it all over, adjusted what needed it, supplied and fitted new bar tape to my bars and tri bars. And it cost.... £27

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 22-Apr-16 17:27:20

When I got my recumbent trike it came semi built and I did have to build it up. Only putting wheels on and the chain, attach the disc brakes and mudguards but it took me weeks!

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Fri 22-Apr-16 17:28:24

£27 is worth it just for the bar tape fitting, that's meant to be fiddly!

CMOTDibbler Fri 22-Apr-16 17:33:54

Dh did his first lot of new bar tape himself. It looked messy and took forever. Ds took his bike in and they 'popped' his tape on for him as they like him and it took less than 5 minutes and looked beautiful. Since then,we've outsourced it!

ivykaty44 Fri 22-Apr-16 17:35:28

Take inner tubes with you x 2 to save you having to fiddle with punctures.

£125 sounds very very expensive for full service, I have had had full service, new wheels, new tyres even new tape and it was £170....

If you use YouTube it can be really good for bike maintenance videos to help you when you are away.

Take a small bottle of lube, and a few different size Allan keys to fit your bike.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sun 24-Apr-16 23:04:30

Just seen that Halfords are running some women's only bike maintenance classes nation wide over the next few weeks.....free as well. Sounds basic, punctures, gear problems, brake problems. Ive signed up for one!

lavendersun Mon 25-Apr-16 05:46:35

Sounds good Simon, hopefully not too far to travel.

I would be quite interested myself - just wondering if the halfords people will be too young to deal with my cantilever brakes.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sat 14-May-16 17:12:54

Reporting back to say the Halfords course was very good. Worth seeing if your local branch is running any. Punctures, gear problems, cantilever brakes, chain coming off all covered.

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